WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 11TH, 2021
TOPIC: STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR GOALS
BY T. O. BANSO
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you” (Philippians 3:13-15 New Living Translation).
To achieve your goals in life, one of the disciplines you must cultivate is staying focused. You can have the right goals but if you don’t stay focused, you won’t achieve them. Some people are easily distracted from their goals as soon as they set out to pursue them. Many abandon their goals along the way because of distractions, discouragement, despair, and other similar factors.
Whether your goals are spiritual or they have to do with academics, finances, business, or whatever, ensure that you stay focused. As there are pastors who are not focused, there are also students and businessmen who are not focused. It takes focus for a student to start and finish a degree programme. Some abandon their academic programmes and no institution awards a degree for starting and not finishing!
It takes focus to start a business and nurture it to profitability. Some people change from one business to another. There is nothing wrong if you discover a business is not the right one for you to do and you change to another. But some people perpetually move into new businesses without making a success of any. They are rolling stones that gather no moss.
Such people exist in the Gospel ministry too. Some are genuinely called but have not made up their minds if they want to fulfil their ministry or do something else. Some move from one church to the other and one ministry to the other, not settling down to fulfil the call of God upon their lives.
Probably they have had five pastors in the past and their current pastor is not their pastor! It takes focus for someone to continue in ministry for thirty, forty, fifty, or even up to sixty years without abandoning it for something else despite facing different challenges.
Paul told Timothy to be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill his ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). He also said, “And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it’” (Colossians 4:17 New King James Version). Nobody will fulfil his ministry without staying focused. It will not always be easy but staying focused will help you to forge ahead, as you endure negative circumstances. Those who don’t stay focused have many abandoned projects in their lives! And I am not referring to projects that are outside the will of God for them.
The apostle Paul said, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you” (Philippians 3:13-15 New Living Translation).
Before he wrote this letter, he had done exploits for Jesus in the Gospel ministry. But he was not complacent. He put behind all his accomplishments and reached for the greater goal of reaching the end of the race and receiving the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Where someone is not focused on a particular goal, anything can attract and distract him. Such a person will live an aimless and directionless life. And he faces the danger of dying carelessly. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (King James Version).
Paul had a goal that he was focused on and pursuing despite all the challenges that could have frustrated him. His eyes were more focused on his goal than on the problems. He regarded the challenges as distractions to keep him from achieving his goal. Because he stayed focused, he achieved his goal. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 New King james Version).
Jesus said to Martha, “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42 King James Version). Stay focused. Mary got it right, but Martha missed it. Martha was not lazy but she was not focused on the right thing. Be focused on the right thing. Don’t be here and there. Don’t be easily distracted, not even by good things that don’t contribute to the realization of your goals. Also, don’t be easily discouraged.
Focus all your energies on your goal but make sure it is the right goal. There will be distractions and discouragement on the way but you must remain resolute. Take your eyes off distractions and everything that does not help you to realize your goals. They could be good things or bad things.
There are things that you must not allow to move you as Paul said of himself in Acts 20:24. He said the Holy Spirit testified in every city that chains and tribulations awaited him in Jerusalem, but these things did not move him. David said, “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8 New King James Version). Stay focused on the realization of your goals.
Stay focused on your goals. Whatever you focus on, you become. Paul wrote the Corinthians, “Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them” (1 Timothy 4:13 New Living Translation).
Jesus was focused on His divine purpose. He did not allow any distraction from the religious leaders – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes. They were His greatest critics or detractors. Even when they accused Him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, He remained focused (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15). It didn’t stop Him from performing more miracles.
Some people wanted to come and take Jesus by force and make Him a king. Imagine Jesus sitting down in one palace and His subjects paying Him homage! But Jesus was too focused to fall into that kind of a trap. When He perceived this, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone (John 6:15). He stayed focused on His goal of dying to save the world, not to receive people paying Him homage in city or town in the land of Israel as their kin. His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36)
Your highest goal should be to spend eternity with Jesus. There is no other goal we can achieve here on earth that is greater than this. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33). Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Let nothing change your focus.
Jesus said no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Don’t look back. Stay focused. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). Confess this prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, “For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7 New King James Version).
Stay focused on your goals.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to stay focused on You, the Kingdom of God, and my goals in life. I have put my hand to the plough, I shall not look back in Jesus’ name. Deliver me from whatever would discourage me or distract me from my goals. Father, I receive grace to finish all abandoned projects in my life that agree with Your will for my life.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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